Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

August 26, 2003

I've got infonesia regarding where I found this, but this is a fascinating article about the way Maori deal with young offenders:

This is restorative justice, a system that has transformed the way juvenile offenders are treated in New Zealand and now embraced wholeheartedly by the British Government. It brings criminals and their victims face to face, and assigns responsibility for retribution to families and the community.

I saw Whalerider on the weekend, which was a somewhat flawed but entertaining tale of a Maori tribe's struggle for meaning in the modern world. It kind of traded on its ethnicity, was overly serious, and clumsily directed, but was still a pretty fascinating and rare look at the New Zealand indigenous peoples. 

9:49:00 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Movies Politics

I've added five new exhibits to the Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness. Don't forget to check your instruction manuals for weirdness and send them along to me. Particularly the cheaper electronics. In my experience, the cheaper the product, the weirder the manual.

9:39:31 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Technical Writing Technology

I've finally succumbed to the interview meme that has been making the rounds. Devon kindly sent me these questions. If you've got a site and want to be interviewed, leave a comment.

1. You've done a lot of travelling.. so, where's your favorite place and why?
Your least favorite?

If I had to pick one, it would probably be Costa Rica. The unspoilt rain forest, the friendliness of the people and the relatively few tourists make it very appealling for me. Runners up include Prague (for the extraordinary architecture) and France, particularly Normandy and Brittany.

My least favourites are generally Mediterrenean cities. I generally enjoy the countryside, but big cities like Barcelona, Athens and Milan tend to disagree with me. They're busy, dirty, smoggy, disorderly, hot and everyone's yelling at each other.

2. How did you propose to your wife? (Sorry about this one.. I'm too much of a romantic not to ask!)

Hmmm...this is going to appeal to any romantics, I'm afraid. We're in the George and Dragon pub in Victoria, BC, drinking hot chocolate in a booth and discussing our future. There's talk of moving, of moving in, maneuvering, etc. I blurt out, entirely spontaneously, 'well, why don't we get married?' That takes us both aback for a moment.

Then we go for a walk and talk about it some more. We figured it was a good thing, and got married at the Greater Victoria Art Gallery the following winter.

3. What accomplishment are you the most proud of so far in your life?

This is a difficult question to answer. I've thought about it quite a bit, and I can't really decide. I don't think I've done anything particularly worthy yet.

4.  What's the strangest thing you've ever done?

I'm taking this as a work-related question. I've done several weird things. Here are three, off the top of my head:

a) Julie and I ran a theatre company for two years. That was strange on a number of levels.

b) I worked as an admin assitant at a rec centre, which doesn't sound weird, but involved a lot of weird tasks like making many, many buttons and fishing children out of the pool

c) For a couple of weeks one summer, my friend Rob got me a job at his father's workplace, HoneCo. They honed the inside of pipes, rendering them perfectly smooth. Rob's job, which mostly involved sitting around, was to put pipes on the honing machine and watch them get honed. My job was to watch Rob. Safety regulations required that two people be present, so all I did was sit around. Mostly we sang along to the local top-40 radio station, LG73.

5.  What's your most masculine personality trait or habit?  And your least?

My most masculine personality trait is my emotional stoicism. My least is my great affection for musicals.

Don't forget to post the rules on your site...

1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2. I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3. You'll update your Web site with my five questions, and your five answers.
4. You'll include this explanation.
5. You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

11:34:09 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Internet

Angels in America is my favourite play. It's extraordinarily well-written, wonderfully creative and a clinic in magic realism. It also happens to be about 6 hours long, all told.

So, it was with mixed feelings that I learned that Mike Nichols was directing a mini-series adaptation for HBO. My concerns were eased, though, when I read about the casting, which includes Meryl Streep, Al Pacino (in a role he was born to play), James Cromwell, Emma Thompson and (the luminous) Mary-Louise Parker (who, frankly, deserves an honourable mention for my freebie list).

Apparently it's supposed to air this Christmas, which is a little odd, as it's a pretty serious play about, among other things, AIDS. And I don't think there's much Yuletide content. But, what the heck, I look forward to it.

10:37:44 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Movies The Arts

Mentioning the Beachcombers reminded me a of a related, hilarious phenomenon that I learned about in Ireland. In the seventies and eighties, Ireland's national broadcaster, RTE, apparently purchased the rights to a ton of television shows from the CBC and National Film Board of Canada. So, Irish kids were raised all sorts of Canadian touchstones, including stories of Inuit, The Kids of Degrassi Street (and Junior High and High), Danger Bay, the aforementioned Beachcombers and many others.

This was handy, as it enabled me to make obscure references to Canadian shows among my Irish friends. They, on the other hand, were kind of bitter about the whole thing, and believed that Canada was composed of grizzled log hunters, moose and canoes. Which, in truth, is more or less correct.

I wonder, will the new generation of Irish kids get to see Degrassi: The Next Generation (regrettably, there are no phasers)?

Incidentally, I had a big crush on Caitlin (pictured above). She was the good girl on Degrassi, and, if I recall correctly, went on to university and much happiness.

10:04:35 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Canada The Arts

As you no doubt know by now, the BBC plans to put its entire radio and television archive online, free of charge. This amounts to an enormous gift to the world, and to history. It's truly a visionary decision for which the British government should be lauded. Danny O'Brien has some interesting observations about the decision.

That got me thinking about the CBC. What's the state of their archives? Could they undertake a similar project? Imagine if all national broadcasters made such a donation to the public domain. I emailed the CBC archives to see what their thoughts on such a project. Obviously it would be tremendously expensive and time-consuming, but I think it's absolutely a project worth doing. And not just because there are several episodes of Beachcombers that I missed.

9:58:06 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Canada The Arts The Commons The Long View